Thursday, January 27, 2005

On crack

Kathryn Jean Lopez is impressed by the endorphin surge President Bush displayed during his press conference today.

[...KJL...]"I only saw parts of it so I'm not going to be particularly helpful in relaying specifics--but, wow was he in a good mood. You almost get the impression he enjoys doing these now.
Posted at 11:14 AM"

[...]

"31 DIE [KJL]
in a Marine helicopter crash in Iraq.
Posted at 09:43 AM

"FYI [KJL]
W is holding a press conference at 10 a.m.
Posted at 09:39 AM"

Ponder that a moment. The White House announces a press conference in the morning. After the announcement comes the news that 31 Americans died in a chopper crash in Iraq (6 others died today in seperate incidents). The president takes the podium fresh with the knowledge of that tragedy--and radiates a cheerful disposition bantering with the press about senior citizens and their faulty memories. She can't see something scarily wrong with that? She doesn't spot some sort of emotional disturbance or disconnect?

[...]

When Bush did address the soldiers' deaths, he said that we "weep and mourn" when Americans die, but as he was saying it his hand was flatly smacking downwards for emphasis, as if he were pounding the table during the business meeting, refusing to pay a lot for a muffler. The steady beat of his hand was at odds with the sentiments he was expressing--he didn't look or sound the least bit mournful or sombre. And why should he? Death doesn't seem to be a bringdown for him. There isn't the slightest evidence that he experiences the anguish LBJ did as casualties mounted in Vietnam. His record as chief executioner in Texas is of a man for whom the death of another is an administrative detail, a power exercise. As Sister Helen Prejean wrote in The New York Review of Books:

"As governor, Bush certainly did not stand apart in his routine refusal to deny clemency to death row petitioners, but what does set him apart is the sheer number of executions over which he...presided. Callous indifference to human suffering may also set Bush apart. He may be the only government official to mock a condemned person's plea for mercy [Karla Faye Tucker's], then lie about it afterward, claiming humane feelings he never felt. On the contrary, it seems that Bush is comfortable with using violent solutions to solve troublesome social and political realities."

  James Wolcott post
Bush is a sociopath.
Another busy day in California for our George. He moves quickly from a fund raiser to a park where he meets up with Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tim Brown, a day camp full of kids, and the usual bevy of reporters, cameramen, and media types. Dubya picks up a football. "Bush has a pretty good arm," reporter Tucker Carlson writes, "except that all the passes appear to be aimed at the gaggle of reporters watching him from the sidelines. A Fox News correspondent looks up just in time to save his pearly caps from a particularly clean spiral. Bush laughs and cocks his arm again. A newspaper reporter turns out to have slower reflexes. The ball hits him square in the chest, almost knocking him down. Bush throws another, even harder. This one beans a cameraman. It's clear that Bush is doing this on purpose....Bush is trotting around the grass with a demented look on his face." Any reader who has had anything to do with male teens knows that this is pretty typical adolescent, passive-agressive behavior. Their girlfriends look away, pretending to be shocked, but you know that some of them think it's "cool." Carlson notes that, "for some reason no one in the press pool seems offended, perhaps because Bush is obviously having so much fun." Don't encourage him, folks, he'll just get worse.

[...]

The cocky [personality of] Gov. Bush who makes flippant comments shows up on days when he is feeling good about himself." We can only add that George must feel good about himself a lot, since the cocky adolescent persona appears in the Talk story over a period of many weeks. Further, this is an explanation for bad behavior, and hardly an excuse. To repeat what we have said earlier, it's up to the voters to decided if this man in his fifties whose adolescent behavior is a salient part of his personality is the best candidate for President of the United States of America.
  Bush Watch article

"There was a moment during the second debate with Al Gore," Mr. Miller said, "when they were talking about a hate-crimes bill in Texas. Bush launched into this thing about the murderers of James Byrd and how the state was going to fry them. There was a look of glee on his face. He spoke with ease and conviction, completely unscripted. That was a revelation to me. I realized that he is capable of speaking cruelly." --Mark Crispin Miller

[...]

"The [BBC live] footage was the most disturbing thing on television in some time. There was US President George W Bush, being prepped for his televised declaration of war. It was not the combing of his hair, the only aspect of the coverage reported by any American media outlet (the Washington Post in this case), which was cause for embarrassment; everyone expects that. Rather, it was the demeanour — I would say antics — of the president himself.

"Bush, the so-called leader of the free world, was sitting behind his desk going over his speech, as we would expect. But then it got weird. I felt like I was looking behind the curtain, and it was uglier than I ever imagined.

"Like some class clown trying to get attention from the back of the room, he started mugging for his handlers. His eyes darted back and forth impishly as he cracked faces at others around him. He pumped a fist and self-consciously muttered, "feel good," which was interestingly sanitised into the more mature and assertive, "I'm feeling good" by the same Washington Post.

"He was goofing around, and there's only one way to interpret that kind of behaviour just seconds before announcing war on Iraq: the man is an idiot." Kevin Lowe, 03.30.03

[...]

Now, as more and more Americans are rapidly coming to realize, the don't-mess-with-Texas swagger was only half of Bush's personality; the other half was the lip-biting, scared little kid who covers up his insecurities with macho, chest-beating bravado. He is the prototypical paradox: an egomaniac with an inferiority complex. None of this would really matter if Bush, aka The Duh, were where he's supposed to be -- luxuriating as a private citizen, perhaps writing a book on his failed bid to become president -- but through some tragically twisted circumstance, he's found himself in a position where he is able to alter the destiny of the entire planet. Yet infinitely worse, every decision he makes -- in that it is coming from that place of ego-driven insecurity -- is the exact opposite of the reasoned, compassionate, measured, rational response the world desperately needs. And confounding the problem even further, he has neither the knowledge, expertise, nor the abstract reasoning ability -- irrespective of his flawed personality profile -- to make the correct decision. Never in my lifetime have I witnessed a president, time after time, make the exact wrong call on every single issue. Lately I'm afraid to pick up the morning paper for fear of yet another foolhardy decision from the blundering Baron of Brinksmanship. --Ogi Overman
  Bush Watch article

As I said, I saw Fahrenheit 9/11, so I knew our president sat there for five minutes with that dazed, confused I-Don't-Know-What-To-Do look on his face, the one we saw again during the debate. But I didn't realize (because the sound wasn't as good in the theater) that during the natural break when he could have excused himself, he instead decided to joke with the teacher.

His cavalier joking, when he knew we had just come under attack, is inexcusable.

[...]

Daniels publicly claimed that during the campaign, in Chicago, the president listed, "three conditions under which a deficit would be acceptable. Those being war, recession or emergency." And... yes, our president's joke about this was, "Lucky me, I hit the trifecta." This was so tasteless that when Paul Krugman reported it, he was attacked by a backlash of people claiming that he must have made it up. [...] In fact, he thought it was so funny that he used it in at least 14 speeches (see them here).

[...]

While on vacation, again in the wake of the 11th of September, 2001, our president was caught on film by newscasters in a disappointingly revealing moment: "I call upon all nations to do everything they can to stop these terrorist killers. Now watch this drive." {video}
  Daily Kos posts

If I could remember what memorial in the past year or so it was, I'd find a link to the totally inappropriate behavior The Bad Seed exhibited, chatting and fidgeting during a silent and solemn service, caught on camera. But then, after all those above, not to mention the truly outrageous slide presentation jokes about not being able to find the WMD, you probably don't need one more piece of evidence that the Brat King is truly a creep.

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